Commission publishes report on implementation of Nitrates Directive
The European Commission has published a report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive, finding that nitrates are still causing harmful pollution to water in the EU and that more action is needed in this respect.
The Directive, enacted in 1991, mandates Member States with designating so-called Nitrates Vulnerable Zones and to develop action programmes with measures reducing and preventing nitrates pollution. The recent Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork strategies currently set a common objective of reducing nutrient losses in the environment by at least 50% by 2030, while preserving soil fertility.
According to the report, which uses data from the 2016-2019 period, the implementation and enforcement of the Nitrates Directive has cut off nutrient losses from agriculture over the last 30 years, making levels of water pollution in the EU significantly lower. However, it warns that in the period concerned, 14.1% of groundwater still exceeded the nitrates concentration limit set for drinking water.
In that line, the report notes that the Commission will develop an Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan in 2022, building on the Zero Pollution Action Plan.
Read the Commission’s report here.